February 28, 2011
Last night I watched the final part of The Promise. I hadn’t seen the previous episodes.
Last night’s episode concluded with Erin, the female protagonist, returning the key of the house in Haifa from which her Grandfather’s Palestinian friends were evicted in the forties. The family, now living in Gaza, were experiencing their third eviction at the hand of the Israeli army / terrorists.
The drama clearly portrayed the nakba narrative, of how people and communities in Palestine were expelled from their homes and in some cases entire villages were emptied, their civilian inhabitants massacred by Jewish terrorists.
It was unusual to see a major TV production telling the story of the dispossed Palestinians and their struggle over decades of humiliation and occupation. The story was certainly not a hateful depiction of Israelis – much of it was made in Israel with Israeli and Palestinian actors. I understand that previous episodes contextualised the colonization of Palestine by European Jews and the establishment of Israel as part of the horrors of the Second World War and the cruelty inflicted on Europe’s Jews.
I also saw a story that recognised the Nakba. Of course the same old arguments will spin around and around – who said what, who did what? But the truth is that a large, vibrant Palestinian community existed in Palestine until it was evicted – ethnically cleansed to use modern parlance. The film appeared to suggest that it was time to recognise this and to afford the descendents of the original victims some justice. And to end the occupation.